Following the political theatre of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week, it’s perhaps a timely moment for Keith Brown and Mike Russell to enter stage left before the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee, giving evidence at its latest session on the economic impact of Brexit. Things got a little testy during last week’s performance, to say the least, and it’s probably fair to assume there won’t be perfect harmony this time around either.
No fewer than five Government ministers appear before Holyrood Committees this week; as well as Messrs Brown and Russell, Kevin Stewart will grace the Local Government Committee with his presence to discuss the Community Empowerment (Act) Scotland, Maureen Watt gives evidence on mental health at Health & Sport, while Humza Yousaf takes a break from his ScotRail woes to present the Aberdeen Harbour Revision Order at Rural Economy. Elsewhere, Education Scotland could face a challenging time at the Education & Skills Committee, if last week’s interrogation of the SQA is anything to go by. The results of the Committee’s own surveys have led the Conservatives to question whether Scotland’s education bodies are “fit for purpose”.
In the main chamber, a Scottish Government debate on Tuesday focuses on the Implications for Culture, Creative Industries, and Tourism following the EU Referendum. Expect discussion about access to funding and skilled workers, talk of Scotland’s long-awaited film studio, the role of Creative Scotland and maybe some proclamations by MSPs of their love of Outlander. Matters including outpatient times, the future of Lightburn Hospital and GP recruitment in Dumfries and Galloway are on the agenda at Portfolio Questions on Wednesday, which precedes a double bill of debates on Local Democracy and Education brought to you by the Scottish Greens.
On Thursday, support for Scotland’s renewables will be in the spotlight, while Humza Yousaf’s diary isn’t getting any clearer - the Transport Minister will be in the chamber again for General Questions to be quizzed on ScotRail, support for public transport and construction on the A90. This week also sees two issues of considerable global import given attention by Holyrood - a session on Thursday marks the international 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls, while Kezia Dugdale will lead a Members’ Business debate highlighting World AIDS Day 2016.
Meanwhile, down the road in London, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Kirsten Oswald and Patrick Grady are poised to ask questions to the Treasury on Tuesday, while the Scottish Affairs Committee takes evidence on sustainable employment from the STUC, Oxfam and the Scotland Institute.
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